Spatial Analysis of Participation in the Waterloo Residential Energy Efficiency Project
Song, Bella Ge
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Researchers are in broad agreement that energy-conserving actions produce economic as well as energy savings. Household energy rating systems (HERS) have been established in many countries to inform households of their house’s current energy performance and to help reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In Canada, the national EnerGuide for Houses (EGH) program is delivered by many local delivery agents, including non-profit green community organizations. Waterloo Region Green Solutions is the local non-profit that offers the EGH residential energy evaluation service to local households. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the determinants of household’s participation in the residential energy efficiency program (REEP) in Waterloo Region, to explain the relationship between the explanatory variables and REEP participation, and to propose ways to improve this kind of program. A spatial (trend) analysis was conducted within a geographic information system (GIS) to determine the spatial patterns of the REEP participation in Waterloo Region from 1999 to 2006. The impact of sources of information on participation and relationships between participation rates and explanatory variables were identified. GIS proved successful in presenting a visual interpretation of spatial patterns of the REEP participation. In general, the participating households tend to be clustered in urban areas and scattered in rural areas. Different sources of information played significant roles in reaching participants in different years. Moreover, there was a relationship between each explanatory variable and the REEP participation rates. Statistical analysis was applied to obtain a quantitative assessment of relationships between hypothesized explanatory variables and participation in the REEP. The Poisson regression model was used to determine the relationship between hypothesized explanatory variables and REEP participation at the CDA level. The results show that all of the independent variables have a statistically significant positive relationship with REEP participation. These variables include level of education, average household income, employment rate, home ownership, population aged 65 and over, age of home, and number of eligible dwellings. The logistic regression model was used to assess the ability of the hypothesized explanatory variables to predict whether or not households would participate in a second follow-up evaluation after completing upgrades to their home. The results show all the explanatory variables have significant relationships with the dependent variable. The increased rating score, average household income, aged population, and age of home are positively related to the dependent variable. While the dwelling size and education has negative relationships with the dependent variable. In general, the contribution of this work provides a practical understanding of how the energy efficiency program operates, and insight into the type of variables that may be successful in bringing about changes in performance in the energy efficiency project in Waterloo Region. Secondly, with the completion of this research, future residential energy efficiency programs can use the information from this research and emulate or expand upon the efforts and lessons learned from the Residential Energy Efficiency Project in Waterloo Region case study. Thirdly, this research also contributes to practical experience on how to integrate different datasets using GIS.